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Universal curbside recycling is so close, bins already rolling out in St. Pete

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A bunch of St. Pete residents had new recycling carts delivered to their homes Monday.

People living in single and multi-family residences in the eastern part of the city south of about Fifth Avenue North may have already received bins and others will soon.

But, just because the shiny new carts are landing in driveways doesn’t mean they’re ready for use. The city will not begin service until July.

Residents in Zone one as well as in seven other recycling districts throughout the city will continue receiving the 95-gallon rolling bins through the end of June.

The city has already equipped its website with a map showing individual districts with a key explaining when pick up days are. Each bin will also come with a colored decal corresponding to that resident’s collection zone and which day recycling is picked up.

Each new bin will also come with a welcome tip including the pick-up schedule, a list of drop-off recycling sites that can be used prior to the universal curbside recycling implementation, information about what and how to recycle and an informational magnet.

The city is reminding residents that not everything can be recycled. They’ve adopted the motto, “participate, don’t contaminate” as a reminder that recyclables must be washed and free of food particles. Recycling that contains food remnants could not only keep that item from making it through the process, but could contaminate other items.

Residents may recycle things like newspapers, magazines and cardboard, clear and colored glass, aluminum and steel cans, steel jar lids, milk and juice cartons and plastic containers containing the numbered triangle. Everything but paper products should be rinsed before recycling.

Junk mail is usually recyclable as well. Paper flyers and windowed mailing envelopes are recyclable as well as mixed paper.

Some items not accepted include plastic grocery bags, pizza boxes, used paper plates, Styrofoam containers, light bulbs, mirrors, ceramics, electronics, paint, pesticides and batteries.

There are five city recycling drop-off sites open in the city. A list is available on the city’s website along with a map and hours of operation.

Residents who currently pay for optional recycling pick-up service will continue to have access to that until the universal program begins. However, the company facilitating that service, Waste Pro., is no longer accepting new customers.

Residents will be charged an additional $2.95 on their bills each month whether or not they use the service. That fee begins in August and is expected to go down if the program receives wide participation.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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